Progress Puppy – Day 9

" My name is Sgt. Pupperstein and I'm here to kick some ass"

Instead of naming this a progress report I decided to go with progress puppy because nothing good has ever come out of anything involving the word “report”, Report Card (bad), Police Report (never good), “Please report to the manager’s office” (palms sweating). This is supposed to be a good thing and what’s better than a puppy? Well maybe a kitten but that’s a matter of opinion.  Also, apparently he’s German and very persistent. Something about nomming us to death if we don’t succeed.  So here we are 9 days into our journey and I hope you’ve made some positive changes like I have. Below I’ve listed some steps I’ve taken recently or in the past that have helped me.

  • I canceled my gym membership. My membership cost me $24.99/mo, I could’ve downgraded to the cheaper option of $12.99/mo. But, so as not to be a hypocrite, I don’t have the cash therefore I cannot afford this luxury. Plus, this is saving me $300 a year! There are plenty of workout routines that you can do from the comforts of your home so the excuse, “eh but I’m going to get fat”, isn’t a legitimate one. Don’t make me sic Sgt. Pupperstein on you.
  • I am no longer indulging in my magic morning elixir, Starbucks, sad face. This number is going to WOW you because it sure slapped me in the face. With refraining from making this tiny purchase of $2.75 a day I am saving $528 a year! That is at the cheapest cost, at my highest I was spending $5.25 for an effing cup of joe yo! We’re in debt, we can no longer or never could, afford this. So stop justifying small purchases, silly ass! That was directed more towards me than you.
  • Call your card company, say what?!  They want your debt gone as bad as you want it paid. They aren’t going to yell at you, or send the police to your house for owing a debt. Ask if they can lower your finance charge or interest rate. Interest rate is a little harder to get lowered because you’ve previously agreed to this rate. Check the fine print of your card information. Please call, it can’t hurt. But whatever you do, don’t cry because that’s embarrassing and makes it awkward for the poor fellow on the other end of the phone, not that this happened or anything, I’m just guessing it would be.
  • Car insurance, little known fact here, you can be set up on a monthly payment plan. Call up your insurer and explain that you’re having a difficult time making the onetime payment of $5,000,000 and you would like to see if  you could be set up on a monthly plan. This makes you bill much smaller and more manageable. Obviously your insurance isn’t 5 million dollars but you get the point, call!

Just by abstaining what I viewed as minor purchases I am saving $828 a year. It just blows my mind and maybe this why normal people don’t go into debt because they grasp where debt comes from.  It may not seem like the issue when you’re glancing at the monthly bill but it sure seems like a start when you factor in the yearly total. Keep on keepin’ on.

The sergeant scares me too, I’m sorry for this

D

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Savings! Savings! Savings!

Now we get to the good stuff, the stuff I know absolutely nothing about! YAY! This should be great guys, have no fear captain I don’t know shit about savings is here! Please someone more educated in the department of finances help my readers. I fear my rationality of picking stocks because their names are fun to pronounce is not a good strategy. I probably should’ve paid more attention in consumer education. I will try to help you with what I do know though. First being, there is no excuse not to be saving! Right now, if you’re current employment status allows it, you need to be putting aside at least $100 for savings. I’ve known this for years, but when did I finally start, a couple of months ago. I was one of these people,  I’d budget for my savings, it would sit in my checking account, then some deceiving judgment call would trigger and I would justify spending it at the bar or on an outfit for the bar. “Oh, I’ll just put double the amount aside next month” Lies! So stop! If you’ve had problems like me actually getting the savings into the savings account then set up an AUTOMATIC WITHDRAWAL, this is the good kind so it’s allowed. 🙂 With the help of a friend I chose Discover Online Savings Account (see link below). Just make sure to always account for the money being taken out, budget around it. You received X amount of dollars on the 30th, budget yourself on there being $100 less. Overdraft fees are no fun and can quickly add up.  Another savings option and probably the most valuable least taken advantage of is the mighty 401k. If your employer offers this, CONTRIBUTE, CONTRIBUTE, CONTRIBUTE! I cannot be clearer on the subject, this is money you cannot access until you are 65, it’s what I like to call “if I can just make it to 65 I’ll be rich” savings plan. Well I won’t actually be rich but I will sure have a lot more money than if I had never contributed. So please folks please take the time to plan for the future. Believe it or not, as long as we take the steps to change, this debt will only be temporary and when you come out of this little slump you’re going to want to come out on top and I want you there too.

Savings = Happiness

D

http://www.discoverbank.com/online-savings-account.html

Support Team

I’ve never hid my debt but I’ve never been completely honest about it either. I let certain people know some information, and others know different information. No one has ever gotten the full raw picture and that includes myself. Well here it is folks, the whole big  damaged ugly picture. I’m in debt and its threatening to swallow me whole if I don’t do something fast. Luckily for me I’m surrounded by people with big hearts and beautiful souls. I have a support team who is rooting for Team Diane over Team Edward or Jacob.  I was afraid for a long time. Afraid of what others might think, afraid of how people would react, but mainly afraid I would become less of a person in their eyes. You cannot be afraid, the ones who love you will be there and the others will still wish you well because no one likes to see someone struggle. This becomes much easier with more people on your side. More people who understand, more people to encourage you from lapsing, more people to comfort you when you’re down. I can’t stress enough the importance of letting those around you know your situation because they will surprise you. Probably even leave you speechless, like in my case.  There are different situations that bring us into debt and the severity level can change but there are others. We are not alone.  We are all dealing with a silent enemy. He cripples spirits and takes self-worth without a second glance, leaving you defeated. I’ve struggled a lot of the time, but with the support team that I know now I have, I know we can all make it. We can’t let the enemy win. I’m convinced our weakness will be what conquerors him, numbers, but for us it will be our strength in numbers. Hug someone you love today because they’re being amazing even when you’re not looking.

Thank you to my team, you’ve made me stronger than I even thought I could be.

D

Baby Steps

The first steps are the scariest….

I promise you, and myself, that if we stick to this plan we will come out at the end victorious. I’m not saying this is the miraculous method that will work for everyone, but this is what is going to work for me. Fortunately I am employed and can plan accordingly, if I wasn’t this canary would be singing a whole different tune. Here are some of the steps that I have taken thus far to make certain I stay on the road that leads me to success.

First, assess all of the damage you’ve created when you set in motion the tornado of frivolous spending. Grab every last card you own, you do yourself no favors by lying. Dont try to hide that $200 or $100 Victoria’s Secret card because as small of an amount it may seem, it’s still a debt you owe. Throw it to the top of the pile. Let it stand as the cherry on top to this ice cream sundae of doom. You want to know what to do now? Set them on fire! Just kidding, but do cut them up or give them to the troll on the bridge that won’t allow you have them back no matter how much you beg or plead. I swear that if we make it to the end of this thing that that troll will have been transformed to an angel.

Secondly, now that you have all those precious plastic pieces, find the ones that have today’s wonderful modern-day miracle of AUTOMATIC WITHDRAWAL. Now can you guess what you do? Cancel it! I don’t care if its $3/month or $25/month*, you can do the math pretty quickly and find out that it’s not helping. These are going to be some of the adjustments were going to have to make. No more tanning, no more gym, no more Netflix. These can be the rewards that you have lined up at the finish line, if you feel you still need them. Need versus want, that agenda is for another rainy day. Chances are, you’re going to realize that your heart won’t stop beating if you don’t have that magical orange glow year round.

Lastly, well there are a bunch of teeny tiny steps in between all this but these are the BIG ones, MAKE A PLAN. I mean actually get it down on paper and staple it to your forehead. Don’t do that, but do get it on paper. Show yourself those big scary numbers and figure out your timeline. You have X amount of debt with Chase (or whoever), divide that by what your monthly payment will be, divide that by 12. That number staring you square in the eyes, preparing for a challenge, is your enemy. Without interest, the world’s most evil villain, that number is roughly how long it will take to get this monkey off your back. Don’t be alarmed! Remain calm. I actually did my math over quite a few times to make sure I wasn’t missing a step.

Now tell yourself, you’re going to do it in half the time. Aim high! Do yourself some favors along the way though; DON’T just make the minimum payment. Try to make a payment of at least double or triple of the amount shown. ALWAYS pay on time. These are some very simple steps to help defeat the nasty sidekicks to interest, finance charges and late fees. They are out there trying to stop you from reaching your goal. F*$%&#$!

Some of this may be common sense so let it serve as a little reminder. The steps you are taking are meant to save yourself, so don’t hurt yourself by lying or cheating. Try to have a brief moment of clarity and remember that the light at the end will always be there you’ve just got to be strong enough to reach for it.

WOW that was a long one

D

*Monthly bills are a little more challenging but you should work to get these automatically withdrawn from your checking account. Where the real money lives! “But, Diane I don’t have the money in my checking account to pay for it.” Then you shouldn’t be allowing yourself to have it, live within your means. It’ll make it that much more of a privilege when you can afford it. You could possibly even go with the techniques the ancients used years ago that seemed to work, write checks.

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